Burgundy's Chief Inspector Pel, along with trusted aides Brochard, Darcy, and Claudine (Pel and the Missing Persons, etc.), is trying to find the killer of Baroness Bronwen, youngish second wife of elderly, set-in-his-ways Baron Raby-Labassat. The Baron's crumbling, ancient mansion is the source of much friction in the family and--as Pel is beginning to think--may somehow provide the motive for Bronwen's death. Beset by a jewel heist, smuggling from Switzerland, some poisoned sheep, and a series of arson-based fires in the countryside, Pel soon detects a pattern of huge profits to be made in the building of villages for tourists and expatriates, mostly English--all funded by consortiums and aided, for a price, by officials in local planning offices. Matters come to a head with a second murder, as Pel finally reaches the end of the tangled threads he's been following, exposing corruption in high places and nailing the murderer. Pel, a kinder, gentler man since his marriage to Madame, has lost some of his biting edge, and the myriad repetitive details here are no plus, but this is middling Pel--a mildly engrossing police procedural with an interesting foreign touch.